The primary reason an actor doesn’t succeed.

I recently was having lunch with a friend who asked “what is the primary reason an actor doesn’t succeed in the industry?”. This was my response to his question:


The biggest reason an actor doesn’t have a successful career is the mis-estimation of effort needed to make it happen.  If you don’t fully understand how much work it is going to take day in and day out, and be fully committed to that, the chances of you succeeding are not great.

If you don’t study consistently and continue to develop your skills as an actor, you won’t be able to deliver the audition and/or the work on set you want to do. The muscles just won’t be there. I have actors say to me that they studied for a year and have taken some audition classes so they feel “it’s just a matter of time” before they’ll start working. This is so not the amount effort or creativity needed to launch a career.

Part of developing your artistic self as an actor includes going to films, theater, concerts, art museums and any areas that take you out of your ordinary world and put you into unexplored territory. You want to cultivate as much knowledge as you can from art and life to make your own experience and your acting that much richer. You can’t do that on the sidelines.

Stay current in the industry.

You also have to read the important trade papers to know what’s going on in the industry: who’s making what film, what directors are merging as new filmmakers, what projects have been given a green light, what’s happening at the latest film festival.  It seems elementary, but it’s vital.  Creating industry relationships is also part of the business. Going to screenings of new films where the cast will do Q & A after the showing can be inspiring and educational.

Be confident and excited about your work.

To be confident and excited about your work and all that is happening in the industry, you have to generate interest in your craft and continue expand your talent and yourself personally and professionally.  You must know that there are actors out there who are fully committed to creating a successful career and work 10 times harder than everyone else to make sure they do.

Work harder than anyone else.

I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with some Academy Award winning talent. They started their day earlier, left later, and worked harder than anyone else around them.  And I never heard them complaining.  They were too busy creating!

Here’s to your success!


Lynette McNeill

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